The 2017 Festival Experience
Toyah is one of our most versatile and popular personalities whose vibrance and energy has won over many audiences in a career spanning some forty years. She has amassed thirteen top 40 singles, recorded twenty albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays, acted in fifteen feature films and presented such diverse television programmes as The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs Of Praise.
It all began in her hometown Birmingham in 1977 when film director Derek Jarman offered her the role of ‘Mad’ in seminal punk epic Jubilee. She continued to gain strong roles, appearing alongside Katherine Hepburn in the film, The Corn is Green, as well as playing ‘Monkey’ in the legendary Quadrophenia. She teamed up with Jarman again to play Miranda in his innovative version of The Tempest, which won her a nomination as Best Newcomer at the 1980 Evening Standard Awards.
Fairport Convention formed in 1967, and are widely regarded as a key group in the English folk rock movement. Their seminal album Liege & Lief is considered to have launched the electric folk or English folk rock movement, which provided a distinctively English identity to rock music and helped awaken much wider interest in traditional music in general. Since 1979, they have hosted the Cropredy Festival, which is the largest such annual event in England. Individually and collectively the members of Fairport Convention have received numerous awards recognising their contribution to music and culture. The year 2017 incredibly saw them celebrate their 50th anniversary year, and we were so pleased that they wanted to make a return visit to Music at Stow, after they played in the first first festival in 2014.
Fairport Convention is still one of the busiest bands around. The line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin and woodwind) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) still packs venues on its frequent tours.
Cotswold Male Voice Choir
The Cotswold Male Voice Choir owes its existence to a group of men who worked at S. Smiths & Sons (England) Ltd back in 1949! Spontaneous discussions culminated in a formal general meeting held in the works canteen at the company’s base in Bishop’s Cleeve on 11th May, 1949. The agenda specified an item “for the purpose of forming a male voice choir”, and “18 persons attended”. The choir has been in existence ever since.
Apparently informal, spontaneous singing was ever a characteristic of the choir – concert engagements didn’t end on stage either! Afterwards, in nearby hotels or inns, relaxed, lubricated singers performed an ‘après-concert’, the ‘secondary performance’ more popularly known as the ‘afterglow’!